Belfast Telegraph

Farmers’ group rejects proposed deal after beef crisis talks

The Beef Plan Movement rejected the plans after talks over the weekend.

Talks have been held on beef prices (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Talks have been held on beef prices (Anthony Devlin/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

A farmers’ group has rejected the outcome of talks last week aimed at securing better beef prices.

The proposed deal aimed to get better beef prices for farmers but, after a number of regional meetings held over the weekend, members of the Beef Plan Movement (BPM) refused to back it.

The proposed deal included a review of the system used to value cattle before they are slaughtered.

Hours of talks to resolve the dispute between farmers and Meat Industry Ireland also involved the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and the Irish Farmers’ Association.

Representatives from BPM have now asked Mr Creed to to reconvene talks.

Minister Creed is going to have to address these issues. Our membership have said no to the deal that is on the table. They say it's not good enough Beef Plan Movement

It comes as protests commenced at a number of meat factories, although the BPM say the pickets are not being organised by any of their representatives.

BPM’s David Whelan said that while members acknowledged gains were made on smaller issues, the main key issues effecting the industry was not addressed in a “meaningful and adequate way”.

Speaking to RTE Morning Ireland, Mr Whelan defended bringing a proposed document to members which did not address the key issues.

“We didn’t consent to the deal – the document is only a draft proposal,” he said.

“We are a volunteer organisation and the majority of our members would be part-time farmers who have day jobs and we have had to consult with our membership base because the whole foundation of our organisation is based around transparency and it’s about listening to our membership base on the ground and we take direction from them.

“Minister Creed is going to have to address these issues. Our membership have said no to the deal that is on the table. They say it’s not good enough.

“We all know that the key issues in the industry really disadvantages the primary producer, there is no level playing field, there is no transparency.

“They leave our farms and businesses both unviable and unsustainable, and the majority of our members are facing financial ruin.

“It’s up to the industry to come forward with meaningful proposals to ensure the primary producer provides them with the raw product that they need to make their businesses sustainable and return a fair share. We are not asking for much, we are asking for a fair share of the end retail price.”

He described the beef industry as “very profitable”.

“You have three toxic ingredients that makes up this industry – you have power, money and greed,” he added.

PA

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